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Need Sound to go with that big screen :)


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#1 Izlude

Izlude

    Oddy Tentacles

  • Joined: 02-March 05
  • Location: Atlantis

Posted 20 May 2012 - 00:26

Warning: I DON'T know what I'm saying/doing...

My PC is connected to my big TV. I've been using the TV's speakers + on board realtek (eew).. I want to get a good sound card and a receiver/speakers to match (I'm definitely into the 5.1/7.1 gimmick) I found the Xonar ST/X and Auzentech Prelude/Forte. I read several reviews, but need peer input (that's important to me). These were my findings based on others' input:

Xonar Essence ST/X: Best cards for headphones, not recommended for speakers. Lacks Coaxial even with daughter card. (I'm not sure if that's true, but if it is, I'd like to pass on Xonar.)

Auzentech Forte: Slightly better than the Prelude, has coaxial/optical. Best for speakers, but Forte's headphone output has a high failure rate.

My Concerns:

1. Folks complain the Forte's headphone out fails.. but what of the coaxial out? I wouldn't care at all if the headphones die, I don't intend to use them, but if the coaxial continues to work perfectly, then I'm sold. (Do you suppose coaxial fails too?)

2. Folks say that optical "usually" bypasses the sound card's hardware and passes the audio straight to the receiver... defeating the purpose of even using the sound card. The Forte has coaxial, but also uses that "same port" for optical with a special adapter. Does that mean the coaxial will skip the sound card's hardware?

3. (if coaxial does not bypass the sound card's hardware).... I'm fixated on coaxial because most modern receivers seem to exclude analog inputs (just 1 analog but not 5.1) and cater more to HDMI, Coaxial and Optical. Is coaxial a valid choice?

I intend to use the sound card with a nice receiver for a 20x15 foot room. I want to solve the sound card issue first before moving on to speakers. Thanks :) I know I'm gonna sound stupid to most audiophiles :p or experts.. but do help :D


#2 Jeston

Jeston

    Neowinian Senior

  • Tech Issues Solved: 4
  • Joined: 07-July 05
  • Location: Las Cruces, NM, US

Posted 20 May 2012 - 00:35

What's your graphics card? Most cards these days allow you to bitstream audio through the HDMI port. This will allow you to take advantage of full DTS-HDMA and Dolby Digial TrueHD audio tracks as well as all the lesser bitrate audio formats(DTS-HD, DTS, DD+, DD).

As for a receiver, I recommend Onkyo. Something like the Onkyo TX-NR515 is a good entry level receiver.

Do you have speakers already? If not, Onkyo also has home theater systems such as the HT-S8409.

Basically we need your PC specs and budget for your home theater equipment.

#3 jimbo11883

jimbo11883

    Here, have a dragon...

  • Joined: 07-November 01
  • Location: North Tonawanda, NY, USA

Posted 20 May 2012 - 00:37

If your onboard sound does 7.1 coaxial or optical, you'll most likely find it sounds the same as an expensive card with the same output type.

#4 OP Izlude

Izlude

    Oddy Tentacles

  • Joined: 02-March 05
  • Location: Atlantis

Posted 20 May 2012 - 00:51

Hi +jeston! I'll put myself at an 800 dollar budget ($USD).

My video card: Asus 5870v2 it has 1 HDMI, 1 Display Port and 1 DVI. (Currently using the HDMI for the TV.)
The 2nd link you provided looks like a nice one :) So I'll bookmark it.

Hi Jimbo! The onboard sound is Realtek ALC889. It has 7.1 support analog or optical. It claims it has coaxial support with a sold separately bracket... although I've never found the bracket on ebay or newegg.. and asus never answers me :(

Do you suppose 800 is too low a budget?


recap on specs:
Rampage III Extreme Mobo
1 available pci slot
3 available PCI-e slots
Realtek ALC889 (7.1 analog support + 1 optical). I'd like some good hardware sound though.

#5 Jeston

Jeston

    Neowinian Senior

  • Tech Issues Solved: 4
  • Joined: 07-July 05
  • Location: Las Cruces, NM, US

Posted 20 May 2012 - 02:19

Hi +jeston! I'll put myself at an 800 dollar budget ($USD).

My video card: Asus 5870v2 it has 1 HDMI, 1 Display Port and 1 DVI. (Currently using the HDMI for the TV.)
The 2nd link you provided looks like a nice one :) So I'll bookmark it.

Hi Jimbo! The onboard sound is Realtek ALC889. It has 7.1 support analog or optical. It claims it has coaxial support with a sold separately bracket... although I've never found the bracket on ebay or newegg.. and asus never answers me :(

Do you suppose 800 is too low a budget?


recap on specs:
Rampage III Extreme Mobo
1 available pci slot
3 available PCI-e slots
Realtek ALC889 (7.1 analog support + 1 optical). I'd like some good hardware sound though.


Your 5870 will give you great sound via HDMI. I ran sound through my 5870 for a few years and am now running sound through my 7970, couldn't be happier with them. Once everything is setup properly you will enjoy beautiful uncompressed sound, there is absolutely no reason for a dedicated sound card.

Also, $800 will get you a great entry system like the one you have bookmarked.

#6 OP Izlude

Izlude

    Oddy Tentacles

  • Joined: 02-March 05
  • Location: Atlantis

Posted 20 May 2012 - 06:32

Thank you so much! I did a bit of reading about VGA (HDMI) sound vs dedicated sound cards.. I had no idea they were going out :o (unless you're a headphone user.) That's quite a shock.

Well that saves me some cash, now I can go ahead and get them speakers :) That's great!!